Bright Orange Honey Cowl

Continuing my breakneck catch up of things left unblogged, I give you… my November 2015 Honey Cowl. It’s made of the tragically-discontinued Cascade Souk.

Honey Cowl

I managed to snag two of the last skeins from my LYS after the discontinuing became official. The yarn is deceptive in that it has a rustic scratchy look to it, but it’s actually very soft to the touch. With the yarn in hand I went looking for a pattern that would work with the bold colors. I settled on this lovely but simple pattern by Antonia Shankland.

Honey Cowl

She has several really great cowl patterns, this being one of the easiest. I also really like Bubble Wrap Cowl and Tempo. This was a perfect brainless project for pulling out on my commute or in a spare minute. After reading the pattern once you never need to look at it again.

Honey Cowl

Orange is one of my all-time favorite colors and you just really don’t see very much good orange yarn at all. What is “good” orange yarn you ask? Basically anything that not hunting blaze colored. For some reason, most companies come up with one very bright orange and nothing in the red or yellow end of the spectrum. This lovely gradient hits all the high points.

I knit every last scrap of my two skeins and I spit-spliced the join between the two skeins so there was no waste. I followed the cast-on directions for the large size, and I do wish I had had a third skein to make my cowl extra-wide. With two skeins, it’s about 7 inches tall. A third skein would have brought it to 10 inches which would be super cozy. As it is, it still keeps my shoulders nice and warm when it’s tucked into my coat.


Please do not let the snow on the ground in these photos fool you. There is no snow in Portland, only cold, dreary, rain. We are just wrapping up one of the wettest Thanksgiving weekends in as long as I can remember.


This snow is actually from January… that’s how long it’s been since the photos were taken for the blog to the actual writing of the blog post. What is life if not a constant struggle to do better…

This is the Tensfield I knit last winter for Bob. The pattern comes paired with another version called Langfield, which is essentially the same hat but slouchy. Both patterns are by Martina Behm. I’ve knit several of her shawls patterns and this was equally well written.


Of course, the fact that it is a well-written pattern doesn’t mean that I didn’t manage to screw it up. At one point the instructions clearly tell you to knit “until 20 stitch before marker.” Well, I just knit 20 stitches and continued on to the next part of the pattern… which was much too soon. Once I realized my mistake (after rereading about 100x before I realized my error) it was easy enough to get back on track.

The yarn is Araucania Huasco DK. It’s super tightly spun so the yarn has a lot of “sproingy” bounce to it. It was fun to work with.


(I like that action shot of rummaging in the trunk.) The variegated yarn really makes it easy to see the unique construction and the different directions you work to all meet together at the crown.

I never much like to remake patterns. Too many good ones not to try something new. But since this pattern is written so that you can use any yarn and needle size that you want I could see re-doing it again in different weights to get a different effect. A super chunky one would be really cute and cozy!


I have not had a Christmas tree since I stopped living with parents at 18. I always traveled home to spend actual Christmas day with my family, so there always was a tree on Christmas day, but I haven’t lived with a tree in… a number… of years. Until now!

We put up a tree on Saturday. I’ve been so busy (at least in my mind) for the past so many years that it’s been a really long time since I felt like I had a Christmas season. Recently, Christmas has been a long weekend at best–a quick exchange of presents, one delicious dinner, some hugs and kisses, and back to work. Having a tree at home really makes it feel like I’m getting into the holiday.

This is also the first year that I’ve actually cut down a tree. Well, I didn’t cut it down, Bob did the actual cutting, but I was there and I held the top of the tree while the cutting occurred, so basically, I cut down the tree. We went to a tree farm about 30 minutes from where we live. One of the things I love about the area is how quickly you can go from city to country. The farm gave us everything that we needed–saw, piece of tarp to lay down in the mud so you don’t have to kneel in the mud, then they shook the tree and bound it up so we could throw it on top of the car. They even gave us the twine to tie it to the car.

That’s the tree shaker… It’s harder to see what’s going on in a still photo. Once we got the tree home there was a small amount of grief over getting it not to lean in the stand, but we got it.

Then we got the lights and star on.

Then the ornaments. My mom started a tradition the year I was born (I’m the oldest) of giving Christmas ornaments as a gift. He favorite ones to give are Hallmark keepsake ornaments. She sent mine to me this year. I had enough to cover the whole tree!

What a nostalgia trip. Also, when I was a kid my favorite movie was Wizard of Oz, so about 75% of those ornaments are Oz themed. I’m going to pretend that it’s not weird to have 9 wicked witches on your Christmas tree… Do you have a Christmas theme? (Intentional or not…)


Looking back

I can’t believe how long I’ve left this poor blog unattended! I’ll admit I’ve been so busy that it was completely forgotten until I got the notice from GoDaddy that it’s time to renew the domain name… Ooops. I guess it makes sense, given that my knitting has really dwindled as well.


Looking back, I started knitting “for real” in about 2007. I finished 7 projects that year–including my first pair of socks and my first gloves. In 2008 I was on fire–22 projects complete (5 were baby sweaters, but still!) 2009 also fantastically productive–22 projects complete again.


Then came law school. In 2010, I still had a respectable year with 20 projects off the needles. Looking back though, I was making a lot of hats, cowls, and other 1 skein-projects. I’d go months without knitting then crank out a few hats.


2011 was my banner year. I started attended a regular knit-night and the camaraderie and inspiration helped me to fully embrace the craft. I finished 32 projects that year including sweaters, shawls, socks, 2 blankets, learned both stranded color work and intarsia, and designed my first knitting pattern (and my second, and my third). I also started working at a yarn shop with a HUGE selection of luxury yarn and did some serious damage with my employee discount.


2012 brought the bar exam and “real” job hunting. Turns out, as terrifying as the test is, studying for the bar exam mostly involves watches videos of lectures covering the same materials as many times as you can to drill the content into your brain. I finished 36 projects that year–all fueled by nervous energy. Many of them were sample pieces for the shop I was working in so a few were single mittens/socks for display. A respectable number of projects nonetheless. I also publish one more pattern that year.


In 2013 I got that “real” job I was hunting for and knitting virtually stopped. I finished 13 projects that year. Almost all of them hats or fingerless mittens. I stopped working at the yarn store and rarely made it to knit-night. It was a brutal year in so many ways, and I just didn’t pick up the needles. I’ve never really gotten back into the swing since then.


2014 was much more optimistic, any way you look at it. I had a better (though not perfect) job, better place to live, and more of a work-life balance. I finished off a lot of projects that had been floating around the stash for years–like 5 years–and it felt like a fresh start. 13 projects were finished that year but some were large–a blanket, a sweater, two giant shawls. My 5th pattern was published. Overall, I’ve got no complaints with 2014.

I had a similar year in 2015. Only 12 projects completed that year, but I loved all of them. Again, I cleared out more lingering UFOs–3 sweaters, 3 shawls. While I was feeling good about my knitting, I virtually stopped blogging about it. I guess it was just one too many balls to keep in the air and that’s the one that got dropped. The last time I blogged (in January!) I was still telling you about projects from July of 2015. I designed another pattern but never got around to publishing it. (Maybe 2017?)


2016 has been… one hell of a year. I feel like my personal life is going so well while at the same time the world is falling apart all around me. Feeling both content and devastated has taken a weird emotional toll. So far I’ve got 10 projects off the needles.A small number, for sure, but for the first year in quite a while I’ve been knitting consistently again–not frantic bursts followed by long absences. Several of the projects I’ve focused on this year have contained large patches of garter or stockinette stitch. Most of my knitting these days happens on my morning commute. The simple stitch patterns not only make it possible to knit on the train, they also provide a soothing way to “wake up” on my way into the office.  Anyway, long story short, after a rocky patch, I’m finally starting to get back into the swing of things with my knitting. Maybe blogging will fall back into place as well.


What is your knitting history? Did you ever hit a rough patch?